Tuesday, September 10, 2013
Brendan Ross takes a look at some standout performances and prospect news from NHL prospect tournaments.
The Bruins participated in the Florida Panthers prospect tournament last week and failed to grab a win going 0-1-2 in the four team event.
Anthony Cammara, Zach Trotman (D), Alexander Khokhlachev each scored once and invitee Maxime Villemaire scored twice as Boston battled to a 5-5 tie with the Lightning in game one. Seth Griffith, defenseman Tommy Cross and Steven Spinelli picked up two assists each. Malcolm Subban made 28 saves on 33 shots.
In their second game, Boston lined up with the Panthers’ rookies and Trotman, Khokhlachev, Camara found the back of the net again while Jared Knight picked up a goal as well putting Boston up 4-0. Unfortunately, the Bruins collapsed and blew the lead eventually losing 5-4.
The final game versus the Nashville Predators concluded in a 2-2 tie on goals from Seth Griffith and Alexander Fallstrom with Subban manning the crease in a strong performance.
The Sabres were in Traverse City at the annual prospect tournament defending their title but eventually fell short to the Red Wings.
Nicholas Baptiste, selected 69th overall in 2013, had an outstanding showing for the Sabres picking up four goals and seven points to lead the team in scoring in four games. Baptiste not only contributed offensively but he was praised for his strong defensive awareness away from the offensive zone and high energy game. I had Baptiste ranked higher than most (75th) for the 2013 NHL Draft and it appears that the Sabres thought similarly of the big Sudbury Wolves winger.
Staying with the 2013 draft class, Eric Locke, Sabres 7th round selection, finished second in team scoring with a pair of goals and six points leaving a good impression with the blue and gold. Defensemen Rasmus Ristolainen (8th overall) and Nikita Zadorov (16th overall) finished with one and three points, respectively. All indications point to Ristolainen being NHL-ready. Zadorov appeared to struggle during early games but found his game as the tournament progressed showcasing his impressive physicality and booming slapshot.
The most impressive Sabres’ prospect is the newly acquired Johan Larsson. The skilled Swede showed a ton of confidence with the puck and really controlled the play for the Sabres. Larsson’s final tournament statline was one goal, three assists and a minus-1 rating.
Zemgus Girgensons, 14th overall in 2012, didn’t find the gamesheet but he certainly left an impression with his defensive game and that’s what is going to earn him a spot on the Sabres roster. Girgensons doesn’t appear to be too far from NHL-ready.
Noteworthy: Joel Armia was held pointless in four games.
Elias Lindholm is coming off a bruised shoulder injury and hasn’t played in a game since March so the Canes’ were entering camp with modest expectations for their 2013 5th overall selection. Lindholm surprised the Hurricanes brass with his strong play…
“I was surprised he played as well as he did,” Rutherford said when we chatted after the game. “I was looking for a guy trying to get through the game and get his timing. The second and third period, his skill level really showed and his vision. He was really good with the puck. He moved the puck to the open guys all the time.”
With loss time to injury, Lindholm is a wildcard to make the team this fall but early indications point to him lining up with Jeff Skinner if he does crack the lineup, something the Canes feel he’s capable of doing. In the event that Lindholm doesn’t make the Hurricanes’ roster out of camp, Carolina would prefer to keep him in the AHL as they don’t expect him to be there all year. There is a possibility he returns to Sweden but I don’t feel that is Plan A. Lindholm finished the Traverse City tournament with zero points in two games.
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